During his excavations of the Sumerian city of Ur in 1926-27 Leonard Woolley discovered some lengths of silver tubing which he believed to be the remains of a set of double pipes such as can be seen on some Sumerian carvings. Such pipes could either have been used to play a melody with a simple (or drone) accompaniment, or be played in unison to give extra resonance. The Silver Pipes of Ur for wind quartet takes as a starting point a combination of these methods of playing.
Commissioned by Lontano. Premiered by Lontano, Edinburgh, 19 January 1983